29 Jun 2012


(29 JUNE) It is no secret that Kim will retire after the US Open but it was her opponent Vera Zvonareva who was forced to hang up her racket prematurely. The No.12 seed, who suffered with a respiratory infection during her 3rd round encounter, retired trailing 3-6 3-4.

It was perhaps not the ideal way the sweetheart of the women’s tour would have wished to forge ahead with her final Championships campaign but the victory guaranteed the Belgian a 4th round appearance against the No.8 seed, German Angelique Kerber.

From the moment the first ball had been struck on a breezy No.1 Court it was obvious Zvonareva was having one of those days. The 27-year-old emerged on court flat-footed, sprayed balls far and wide and struggled with her ball toss on serve, which culminated in a string of breaks against her. In stark contrast, Kim played a patient, composed and consistent game in which she bided her time before pulling out textbook baseline winners.

By the time the first set had escaped Zvonareva, the 2010 Wimbledon runner-up had sighed, swiped the air, thrown her racket, yelped and cast her gaze heavenwards in the hope of divine inspiration.

She had already come through two tricky three-set matches to reach this stage and it soon became apparent that the Russian No.2 would have to repeat the trick if she were to emerge the victor in this particular tussle.

Drama then unfolded at 2-1 when Zvonareva called on the trainer and began weeping into her towel. All was not well and a chesty cough was audible between the sobs. An off-court medical time ensued but when Zvonareva returned and was broken with ease four games later she conceded the match.

Zvonareva said she had been suffering with the infection for four days but added 'it was getting worse and worse every day, today it was pretty bad'.

Although mother-of-one Kim is excited to reach the 4th round, she is under no illusion about the test she faces in the form of world No.8 Kerber.

'I've never played against her', she said. 'It will be a first. Obviously a left‑hander is always tough. She's been playing some really good tennis. She's a fighter and physically strong girl, so it will definitely be a very tough match for me.'

Even so Kim will relish the challenge. 'I look forward to playing against somebody like that who I never played against before, where you just have to really be on top of your game, try to play aggressive tennis, but at the same time kind of get to know how your opponent plays and get a feel for it, [such as] the type of shots she makes, and the types of decisions she makes out there.'

And who can blame her? Wimbledon is the only Grand Slam in which the three time US Open and 2011 Australian Open champion has not reached the final.

'To be in the tournament, to be a part of that second week at Wimbledon, is always very special', she added. 'I have a couple days off now...there's such a special vibe whenever you get to the second week of a Grand Slam. I think here at Wimbledon, even more so. It just feels very unique.'

In the 4th round Kim will thus face Angelique Kerber. Their encounter will be played on Monday and is the second match on Court No.3. It should thus not start before 1pm, local time.
adapted from wimbledon.com

27 Jun 2012


(27 JUNE) Kim has started her ninth Wimbledon with all the confidence and belief that years on the Centre Court have taught her. Disciplined, dedicated and free of any serious errors she beat the Czech Andrea Hlavackova 6-3 6-3 in 65 minutes to reach the 3rd round.

Kim is at the start of her 30th year and knows her way around the big show courts and making a dent at this Wimbledon is something which would delight her and her fans.

It may be a measure of Kim's form that she was never in serious trouble against Hlavackova, who ranks ninth in the world compared to the Belgian's position at 47th. Not once did Kim concede a break point, so clear were her targets, so absolute her concentration.

As Kim had beaten the 18th-ranked Jelena Jankovic in her first match, she had good reason to be confident against Hlavackova, who is ranked 90th in the world. This is Hlavackova's third year running at Wimbledon and she played with boldness, going stroke for stroke in many rallies until the Belgian surprised her.

The Centre Court crowd was in the mood for some fast points and decisive hitting at this early stage of the evening and were not disappointed. Kim won her opening serve and had two break points on Hlavackova in her first service game. The Czech saved one with an ace, the second with a passing shot, but the groundwork had been laid.

Hlavackova was broken for 4-2, a game in which she served her third ace, but Kim again had two break points and won through on the second with a crisp forehand. Three games later she had the first set after an attack which included a forehand winner which left Hlavackova groping and then two service winners. The first set was over after 32 minutes and the crowd sensed there would be little alteration in the progress of the match.

Hlavackova, who will be back at Wimbledon for the Olympics, had to fight off a break point at the start of the second set and after doing so served her fourth ace. Her forehand became a little unreliable and in the seventh game Kim won the first break of the set .

Kim repeated the break two games later to complete her victory, going to match point on shot confirmed by Hawk-Eye and finished with a winning forehand.

'This was the first time I have played under the roof since 2009', Kim said. 'I was very happy with the way everything went today. It was a step up from my first match. I was really focused and wanted tokeep my level up. She played a tough game as well. A couple of games here and there made the difference.'

In the 3rd round, Kim will face 12th seed Vera Zvonareva. Their match is scheduled 3rd on  Court No.1 and should start around 3pm/3.30pm, local time.
adapted from wimbledon.com

26 Jun 2012


(25 JUNE) In her last Wimbledon, Kim is through to the 2nd round after defeating Jelena Jankovic in straight sets, 6-2 6-4.

Playing her final Wimbledon in what has been her least successful Grand Slam event, Kim’s campaign at the 2012 Championships is bound to be accompanied by intense emotion, given a string of ankle, hip and abdominal injuries this year.

A smooth first-round win over women’s 20th seed Jelena Jankovic understandably brought out some sentiment, then joy, mingling with relief as Clijsters celebrated the 6-4, 6-2 progression with a broad smile. 

'It’s a great feeling when you work so hard towards something and then it pays off', said the Belgian, who also acknowledged the impact on her coach Carl Maes and physiotherapist Sam Verslegers. 'It's nice to be able to share those kinds of emotions. The victory on its own felt special tonight.'

Jankovic, of course, had presented another potential challenge – not only does she share former world No. 1 honours with Kim, but in finishing runner-up in the lead-up event in Birmingham, the Serbian was showing some threatening form on grass.

'I knew it was going to be a tough one, and I had to be ready for it', Kim said.

That meant taking control early and as Kim broke serve to take a 3-0 lead in the first set, it was a strategy that quickly fell into place. With some potent ground-strokes and her typically competitive athleticism helping negate any edge Jankovic was able to muster, she took the set in 34 minutes.

While an early service break hinted at a more-competitive Jankovic in the second set, Kim broke straight back in the fourth game, then refused to concede an inch as she gained another break to take a 4-2 lead. A long and tense seventh gain saw the Serbian break again, but the determined Belgian quickly regained control with a final service break to claim the 6-2, 6-4 victory.

Amid the 20 winners, two aces and overall 72 points won was some reassurance for Kim, who seems determined to stretch her stay at Wimbledon – which she describes as a 'very special, special place for me' – for as long as possible, knowing her second retirement from tennis will be a permanent one.

'I think the first time, you know, when I was ready to retire, I was convinced. I was like, ‘Okay, that's it. Tennis is over, I think now this is definitely going to be it, so I take everything in. Whether I'm practising on one of the practice courts out here, I look around and I take it in', she said.

While valuing the experience of the eight Wimbledon campaigns she’s contested in the past 14 years, Kim also acknowledges the poignancy of her final one.

'I’m a little bit older and I understand the emotions better, I think, than many years ago', she said. 'So I think in that way it's easier, but also probably a little bit more emotional.'

In the 2nd round, Kim will face Andrea Hlavackova; their match is scheduled 3rd on Centre Court and should thus not start before 3.30pm/4pm, local time.

adapted from wimbledon.com

22 Jun 2012


(22 JUNE) The Wimbledon women's singles draw has been revealed and here is what it looks like for Kim (based on the opponents she is more likely to face):


You can have a look at the whole draw here.


(22 JUNE) Kim has withdrawn from her semifinal match at the Unicef Open in Rosmalen with a slight abdominal injuryKim's stomach muscles hindered her and made it quite painful for her to serve during her quarterfinal match and especially in the second set.

The abdominal injury is by no means a muscle tear; an irregular muscular fibre structure was diagnosed in 's Hertogenbosch.

This is thus a precautionary measure, taken in order not to jeopardize Kim's taking part in her last Wimbledon.

'We've made this decision because we know it's the right thing to do given the circumstances', Kim reacted. 'I’m really disappointed about my injury and I feel terrible about pulling out, especially as it is so close to home and many fans have been supporting me here. If I could keep playing here I would, but with my injury history in this area, this was the smart decision to make ahead of the next few months.'

Sam (Kim's physical coach): 'We did not want to take any risks. A few days of rest should really be enough for Kim to feel better and we're ideally even hoping for a full recovery come Monday.'

Kim should indeed start her last Wimbledon (against Jelena Jankovic) on Monday.


(22 JUNE) Kim has qualified for the semifinals of the Unicef Open in Rosmalen after defeating Italy's Francesca Schiavone 6-3 7-6(7).

The first set saw Kim dominating most of the exchanges, never really letting Schiavone get into the match or keeping her under control. When serving for the set at 5-3, Kim had to save 2 break points though, which she did before closing out the first set.

The second set was a much different story, with the Italian getting into the rhythm and raising her level to dictate the rallies while Kim struggled to hold serve. This led to a tie break in which Kim saved 2 set points before closing it out on her first match point.

'This was a very intense match', Kim said. 'Schiavone is a player who keeps fighting and has all sorts of different strokes. It is very important to stay focused for each point.'

In the semis Kim will face Urszula Radwanska and their match is scheduled second from a 2pm start, so probably around 3pm-3.30pm, local time.

19 Jun 2012


(19 JUNE) It was a very different match for Kim today, and a very different level of tennis too, as the Belgian rushed to a 6-2 6-1 win over Kateryna Bondarenko to reach the quarterfinals of the Unicef Open in Rosmalen.

Kim played some rather solid tennis throughout the whole match and saved the only break point she had to face.

Things were pretty even at the beginning of the match until Kim had her first break opportunities on Bondarenko's serve in the fourth game. It took Kim no less than 11 (!) break points to get the break (on a double fault from Bondarenko), but from then on, the former No. 1 never looked back and rushed to a 6-2 6-1 victory.

'After my first round I was already glad to win a match but there were things which needed improvement. And although it wasn't my best tennis out there today it's clearly better compared to my 1st round match', Kim reacted. 'Bondarenko's playing style suits me a lot better than Oprandi's.'

In the quarterfinals, Kim will face Francesca Schiavone. Their match is scheduled for a 2.30pm start, local time.

17 Jun 2012


(17 JUNE) It wasn't as easy as her fans could have wished, but Kim eventually prevailed in her 1st round match of the Unicef Open in Rosmalen, defeating Switzerland's Romina Oprandi (5)6-7 6-2 6-3

Kim rushed to a 5-2 lead in the opening set but suddenly lost her momentum, eventually losing the first set in the tie break.

It was then that Kim reacted and started to progressively play better, winning the next two sets quite comfortably.

'It was very close', Kim reacted. 'Oprandi is a difficult player. Fortunately I continued to fight and I stayed focused. The second and third sets went better and better.'
'I enjoy every game that I can play. It's going to be an important summer and maybe it was not my best tennis today, but I'm quite glad I've won.'

Kim will play her 2nd round match on Tuesday and will face Ukraine's Kateryna Bondarenko. Their match is scheduled for a 2.30pm start, local time.

16 Jun 2012


(16 JUNE) It's D-1 for Kim's comeback! The Unicef Open starts tomorrow in Rosmalen and Kim will already be in action for her 1st round match, where she'll take on ...Romina Oprandi, just as last year! Let's hope this turns out to be a very different story this time around. Their 1st-round encounter will be played around 2.30pm, local time.

And here's what Kim's draw looks like:

 1st • OPRANDI 
 2nd • ERRANI 

You can check the whole draw here.